Last year was a great time for the economy — if you were already super rich. According to a new study by OxFam, a whopping 82% of the world’s wealth went to a mere 1% of the population in 2017. That’s an astounding fact, and it points to the widening gap between the ultra-rich and the other 99% of the world’s population.
To break it down even more, four out of every five dollars earned in 2017 went to the top 1%. Meanwhile, the poorest half of humanity got essentially nothing. That’s over 3.7 billion people who saw zero financial gain for 2017.
How did this deeply unbalanced situation come about? According to a report in Time, tax-dodging is largely responsible for much of the financial inequality. While those at the top owe more than the rest of the population, they’re significantly less likely to actually pay up. The end result? Those at the bottom hand over what little they have, while those at the top walk away with the majority of the world’s wealth.
Of those at the bottom of the economic ladder, women are the ones who suffer the most. On average they make less at jobs that are also less secure than those of their male counterparts. At this rate, the report estimates that it will take another 217 years before women and men are equally compensated at work.
And there’s more bad news on this front. The report goes on to say that the current U.S. administration is not improving matters in the slightest. Donald Trump has been criticized by experts for creating a government cabinet largely populated with the ultra-wealthy. He’s also approved new tax legislation that doesn’t do anything for the middle class but is sure to help those already in the “incredibly wealthy” tax bracket.
The report concludes that the current economic system simply isn’t working for the vast majority of people. Something big needs to change, and soon. We don’t know about you, but we’re not inclined to wait another 217 years.